Professor Zeisel

Dr. John Zeisel is President and co-founder of the Hearthstone Alzheimer's Family Foundation and Hearthstone Alzheimer Care Ltd.  The Foundation promotes non-pharmacologic treatment for Alzheimer's disease, including environmental design, music, communication, caregiver education, and art.  Hearthstone Alzheimer Care manages eight assisted living treatment residences for people living with Alzheimer's.

Dr. Zeisel's professional mission is to implement and promote "coordinated" treatment of Alzheimer's disease.  In that pursuit, he has developed a comprehensive non-pharmacologic treatment for people living with Alzheimer's disease.  The author of numerous books and articles, his work has been featured extensively in the media.  Dr. Zeisel lectures throughout the world on the importance of improving the quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease through non-pharmacologic intervention.  His professional development links his training in sociology to architecture and neuroscience.  He was a Principal Investigator on a National Institute on Aging study to determine the relationship between environmental design characteristics in Alzheimer's Special Care Units and health and well-being outcomes.

For the past decade Dr. Zeisel has focused on the neuroscientific aspects of design programming, design projects, and evaluation, namely the ways in which physical environment supports brain development and function.  In the health field, Dr. Zeisel has studied the ways in which specific environmental factors reduce symptoms of aggression agitation, social-withdrawal, and delusions among people living with Alzheimer's.  In office and workplace planning specifically the programming and design for the 350-person newsroom of the Minneapolis Star tribune Dr. Zeisel has translated health-care related principles into criteria for design supportive of individual well-being and teamwork in the workplace.  For the authors of the recently published Handbook of Universal Design, Dr. Zeisel contributed a chapter describing how brain-supportive design is design for everyone universal design.  In 2004, Dr. Zeisel was honoured by an appointment as Associate of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

After receiving his doctorate in Sociology from Columbia University and a Loeb Fellowship degree from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in the early 1970s, Dr. Zeisel taught at Yale University and at Montreal's McGill University, and then spent eight years on the Harvard Architecture School faculty.  After a decade of applied research and consulting, he co -founded Hearthstone Alzheimer Care in 1993.

In 1994 he was appointed the Cass Gilbert Visiting Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Zeisel lectures internationally and teaches regularly at the business school of the University of Quebec at Montreal, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education Program.  In 2003 he was awarded a CAMPUS Visiting Fellowship at Salford University's Centre for the Built and Human Environment.

Dr. Zeisel has received numerous awards and citations for programming and assessing health care facilities, seniors housing, family housing, office buildings and schools. In 2000 the Environmental Design Research Association awarded him the EDRA Career Award.

Articles by and about Dr. Zeisel have appeared in The Gerontologist, Harvard Magazine, Landscape Architecture, The Wall Street Journal, Progressive Architecture, the New York Times, and the London Times.  His 2004 Gerontologist article Environmental Correlates to Behavioural Health Outcomes in Alzheimer's Special Care Units, demonstrating the treatment effects of the built environment, has been published in the French Revue de Griatrie.

Dr. Zeisel's revised classic text Inquiry by Design: Environment/ Behaviour/ Neuroscience in Architecture, Interiors, Landscape, & Planning, published by W. W. Norton, links research, neuroscience, and design.  His other books include Housing for Families, Independence through Interdependence: Congregate Housing for Older People, Low-rise and Mid-rise Housing for Older People, and Stopping School Property Damage.  In 1990 the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) published his Selecting Retirement Housing.